Did You Know Sex And Intimacy Can Overcome Anxiety?

Sex And Intimacy Can Help Your Anxiety

Exploring the therapeutic effects of sex and intimacy on anxiety can open new doors to mental wellness. While not a cure-all, intimate connections often help manage anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Remember, it’s crucial to consult healthcare professionals like those at beyondblue for tailored advice and support. Let’s uncover the potential calming benefits of sex and intimacy on anxiety.

Please note: This will not work for everyone, this is advice for ways in which anxiety can be managed this is not a cure. For more information on anxiety please speak to your doctor or contact beyondblue.org.au if any of these are of concern for you.

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Image: Anxiety Someecards

Australian Bureau of Statistics has compiled data on anxiety as follows:

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, 1 in 4 people – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men – will experience anxiety.

In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.

Anxiety as defined in the Cambridge English dictionary:

Anxiety noun

An uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future:

Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying.

Beyond blue defines the sub categories of anxiety as:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A person feels anxious on most days, worrying about lots of different things, for a period of six months or more.

Social Anxiety Disorder

A person has an intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated, even in everyday situations, such as speaking publicly, eating in public, being assertive at work or making small talk.

A Phobia

A person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it, for example, having an injection or travelling on a plane. There are many different types of phobias.

Panic Disorder

A person has panic attacks, which are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms. Someone having a panic attack may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and excessive perspiration. Sometimes, people experiencing a panic attack think they are having a heart attack or are about to die. If a person has recurrent panic attacks or persistently fears having one for more than a month, they’re said to have panic disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A person has ongoing unwanted/intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may acknowledge these thoughts as silly, they often try to relieve their anxiety by carrying out certain behaviours or rituals. For example, a fear of germs and contamination can lead to constant washing of hands and clothes.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This can happen after a person experiences a traumatic event (e.g. war, assault, accident, disaster). Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams or flashbacks of the event, and avoidance of anything related to the event. PTSD is diagnosed when a person has symptoms for at least a month.

My Personal Story

As I sit here writing this I am in the middle of an anxiety attack granted this is a daily occurrence for me, and normally concentrating on my breathing or distracting myself with cleaning duties usually helps manage it. But this time not so much, some turn to coffee, smoking, food or exercise, since I’m at work exercise is not an option, but coffee is!

I am up to my 3rd double shot coffee and let me tell you I resemble more closely to an energiser bunny then I do being calm. It did get me thinking since I work at an Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre! This whole place is built on sex and intimacy, which then put me on the tangent that when I do have sex or when I am intimate with my partner I never feel anxious only calm and free… why is this?

The basic reason why those who are on anti-anxiety medication have reduced sexual responses including arousal, orgasm and libido is because; these medications hinder the production of nitric oxide. This is the main facilitator for both the male and female sexual arousal responses. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that widens blood vessels to allow more blood flow into the penis and clitoris.

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Anti-Anxiety medication means Less nitric oxide which = less blood flow which means = less sensation.

BUT! Could Sex And Intimacy Help?

Four years ago I quit my anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication cold turkey – I strongly DO NOT advise this because it can have some serious side effects!

I however am extremely stubborn and when I decide on something there is no changing my mind!  The medication can be extremely addictive not to mention you are going from a level and numbing state chemically to the unknown where anything is possible. I found that I was too numb almost like I was stuck inside my body everything was going as normal but I couldn’t feel anything, I wasn’t happy I wasn’t sad I wasn’t anything.

I had little to no libido and was never aroused physically – there are many reasons why lube should be used, so much so it will become your best friend. After I quit cold turkey I had many up and down moments over the years but they have gotten less over time, I found one thing that did calm me was sex. Sex with my partner brought a sense of calmness over my body and it’s almost like all my anxiety disappeared, and my body became weightless.

Isn’t it funny that one of the main things that kill your sex life (anxiety and stress) is also one of the things that can help? Being in an intimate relationship has been connected to healing faster, strengthening your immune system and living longer. A good relationship will relieve tension in daily life, and when anxiety hits which causes a spike in blood pressure, having sex will release feel-good hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. Which after a while you will begin to associate your partner with those positive feelings and they will become someone you trust during those tough times.

Author: Morgan is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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